The wreck of the "Estonia" was one of the worst disasters in maritime history, and a terrible tragedy for all concerned. Such a terrible topic deserves to be treated with respect, not flippancy.1

The ferry "Estonia", owned by the Estonian Shipping Company (registered in Cyprus), but operated by the Estonian State, sank in rough weather, on the 28th of September 1994, in the Baltic Sea, at 59° 23' N latitude and 21° 42' E longitude.

Aboard the ferry were 989 passengers and crew, including 23 children. Of these 989 people aboard, 137 were rescued, 95 were found dead, and the remaining 757 are missing, presumed dead.

Of the 23 children, 4 were rescued. No children below the age of 12 survived the disaster.

The final report of the commission assigned to investigate the disaster concluded that the cause was a defect in the design of the bow visor of the ferry. This defect, combined with violent weather, had caused the bow visor to shear off, allowing the ferry car deck to fill with water. Once this happened, the ferry was doomed, and sank rapidly.

Rescue efforts were complicated by the dreadful weather, and many people who had made it off the sinking ferry succumbed to exposure.

The wreckage of the "Estonia" now rests at the bottom of the Baltic waters, at a depth of 70-odd meters. The wreck has been declared a national monument by several of the governments bordering on the Baltic, and is off limits to divers (which has not stopped certain despicable thrill-seekers, mostly Americans, from trying to dive at the site).

1 This now near-redundant sentence refers to a now-removed writeup that dealt rather facetiously with the disaster.

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